Thursday, 21 January 2016

A tale of Negligence at NAUTH Following the Shot Nollywood Actor’s stomach burst in hospital after surgery

When a Nollywood Actor, Charles Okocha was shot along with one Sam Belonwu Dim, a Lagos-based business man by a trigger-happy police officer on December 27, 2015 at a traditional wedding in Uruagu, Nnewi, Anambra State, none believed that Okocha would survive as an eyewitness account claimed that his intestines gushed out, even as Sam allegedly died instantly at the scene of the incident.
Our CEO/MD, Okechukwu Onuegbu  writes on the issue. 

A Good Samaritan, Mr James Louis Okoye, an event planner and manager who with some other individuals took Okocha to hospital, who narrated the ordeal of the Nollywood Actor, maintained that he went through hell to survive beginning from when he was shot up to when he was rushed to the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH), Nnewi.

Okoye said: "I’m into event planning and management.  I package events for people from funeral to wedding and all that stuff.  My company is Jalou Events Ltd. I am not just worried but I’m mad about what happened in order to save Okocha’s life. You know I was at Danduko’s house on December 27, 2015 for the traditional wedding of his daughter.  What really happened was that the trigger-happy police officer saw an Actor he recognized and he said; ‘look at this my guy. let me throw one in air for him’, that is to give him a gun salute, forgetting that the gun was on rapid before, maybe he was drunk like people said, I don’t know about that. He pulled the trigger.  He had the intention to release one shot in the air.  But he could not control the gun again because up to eight or nine bullets flew out from the gun.  The bullets hit two people Sam, right, and Charles Okocha.  But I didn’t see the other guy (Sam) and there was a noise at the other end.

"When I rushed out of Danduko’s compound, I saw Charles Okocha lying helplessly on the ground.  And in our usual way people started shouting heh! hoo! It is that Actor oo! Some people brought out their phones and were busy snapping him rather to save his life.  This is somebody who was dying and needed help.  I shouted at them.  And you know traffic was heavy everywhere and so many vehicles blocked the way.  And my car was packed at a primary school field, some metres away from the scene of the incident.  I looked at the guy his intestines were already coming out.  He was strong enough to hold them.”

He added that: “Then we had to carry the Actor some metres away from the scene to where I packed my car.  Two other guys and myself, we now sped up to Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH), Nnewi. We got to the NAUTH where I said thank God that we finally made it to the hospital.  But it was a nightmare…The guy (victim) was crying “please help me, I don’t want to die, Jesus help me, and all.”

“Now, the move I saw from the nurses and doctors, or I don’t know who doctors are or who are student doctors was so annoying. Those who helped brought the Actor to the hospital were angry and started shouting at the medical personnel.  I told my friends that making trouble or even shouting at them could make our friend Charles to die unattended to.  I had to beg the nurses and all that.  They now said go and sign for this, go and sign for that.  I was obediently doing all that even faster than they expected. It was over two hours and thirty minutes before the doctor who will conduct the surgery came. 

“I was also told to go and sign approval of blood to be transfused.  I told them to check if mine could match his (the victim’s blood) because I was willing to donate to save his life.  They said it will take longer time, and they already had blood in their bank although they were yet to pass through test one, two and three for HIV/AIDS, which would show that they were HIV/AIDS-free. But since my case was so urgent, they advised me to sign an approval form for them to use the blood without confirmation. I said to myself, this guy dying now and dying many years later for HIV/AIDS if at all the blood will be HIV positive, that the option is to save his life now because HIV positive patients sometimes live longer than those who do not contract it.  It can now be controlled.  But that will not be the portion of my friend, Charles Okocha.

“My brother, it was after that undertaking that the porter who was to move this guy from the emergency ward to the theater sluggishly began to move the victim.  I said let me help you, she said no, that I’m not allowed to assist.  She said they were two and the next person was coming. At the end of the day I was just pleading, petting and begging and they were able to move the young man in a stretcher to theater door and an argument ensued between the two porters.  You know, the friends and my brother who came along with me wanted to shout but I pleaded with them to calm down so that the matters will not be worse.  From what I observed, they don’t really care about people, whether they make it or not.  After all, they are not responsible for the accident.  So, they are not interested whether the person lives or dies.  This is the impression you will be getting from anybody around there (the hospital).

“I waited for over four hours before they moved him to male special ward after the surgery. I don’t want to mention how many people that gave up as I was waiting on the same night at the emergence unit. I don’t want to talk about an accident victim brought in there but was not treated because those who brought him could not pay N500 for him. I had to pay for them. I am not talking about another accident victim who was brought in that night and what a nurse had to say was imagine the kind of alcohol smelling oozing from his mouth, look at what he has done to himself while the guy was bleeding profusely.

“The disturbing fact was that a few days ago, Charles Okocha returned to the hospital to remove the stitches because he was planning to travel to Lagos for further check up even Danduko was ready to fly him overseas for further treatment. Unfortunately, he sat down after they were removed. All of a sudden, we heard a noise like a balloon burst.  Behold, everything in Charles Okocha’s stomach came out.  You know it was a major operation. Nurses rushed in, looked at him and ran away.  Everybody who looked at his dangling intestines could not behold the sight.  It was a gory sight.  But Charles was courageous enough to hold his intestines from dropping on the ground. He turned his face away from his hands so that he would not faint at the sight of his own intestines coming out.

“After about 25 minutes, the so called surgeon came in again.  He went back to start all over and Charles began to go through the pains he had a few days ago.  It was an annoying thing.  When they came to the ward they said openly that they were supposed to use nylon three for the stitching but what was available was nylon one and they had to use what they had at least to save life.  When I mean to save life is at least to save his life that day because that is just what it means.  What they should have done was to tell us to rally round and get the material and anything, any drug they use for you at the teaching hospital is paid for before it can be used. Is it not a reasonable step that at down they should have sent us to get the right stitching material, nylon three to avoid the bursting?  They were bold to tell us why the stomach burst. I have never seen a thing like that before because they told us the nylon cost only N700.00.

“My brother, I know that I’m nobody but a young man trying to survive.  But as lucky as I may be as an event planner, I have contacts.  I was part of the event planning at Dr Chuba Okadigbo’s funeral.  I was also the director of protocol at Professor Chinua Achebe’s funeral.  From that time till date I have been lucky in handling big events from Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu’s to Prof Dora Akunyili’s.  So, I have been opportune to meet some prominent Nigerians. I have their direct phone numbers, and had texted them on this matter, a great number of them responded to my text messages. My intention is for these people to contact President Buhari or the Minister for Health to investigate how some of these Federal health institutions are run with a particular reference to NAUTH, Nnewi.  People are undergoing bad moments in some of these government-owned hospitals…I forgot to tell you my encounter with the person managing the blood bank. When I got to meet her, she said: “Ahha what can I do for you”, then continued eating. She was expecting me to wait for her to finish eating when someone was dying.  But as she saw my red eyes, she covered the food and attended to me.

“I worked in the United Kingdom about ten years ago in Old People’s Home, taking care of the aged. Then, I was paid a big sum per hour. If the British government can pay me this huge amount to make people happy and comfortable what stops Nigeria government from providing enough drugs and others needed at our hospitals’ emergency units and departments?”, Okoye concluded.

However, the Chairman, Medical and Advisory Committee, NAUTH, Nnewi, Dr Evaristus Ede Afiadigwe who spoke in the place of Chief Medical Director (CMD), Professor Anthony Igwegbe said to have travelled out, dismissed Okoye’s claims although he admitted that there was an incident of stomach burst involving Actor Okocha.

According to Afiadigwe, there was no atom of negligence in the treatment of Mr Okocha, besides, stomach burst was a medical experience that could occur any time.

His words: “I heard about the eruption, stomach burst.  The doctor wanted to use Nylon 2 Defilon but what was available was Nylon I.  It is not possible that everything you need, the number and quality will be available at every given time.  And you know that was on a Sunday.  But the Nylon I is used and one still gets a perfect result. I don’t know why this should be made an issue. I investigated the incident myself and discovered that there was no negligence.  The Nylon 1 and Nylon 2 are of high quality not even the 3 you are talking about.  Life and death are actually in the hands of God.  We did everything humanly possible to save Charles Okocha’s life. And this is what one should be grateful for instead of painting the hospital black.

“We do conduct audit on how our doctors and nurses work and we have a disciplinary committee which handles erring medical personnel.  There is no negligence in this matter.  Some doctors even use Nylon 1 ordinarily.  It is just that the doctor said he wanted to use Nylon 2.  Nylon 2 was available in the hospital but it wasn’t available at the time the doctor was doing the surgery.  There was a repeat surgery and it was successful,” he concluded, even as he took our reporter to the theatre where he showed him the Nylons 1 and 2, and to the male’s ward where Okocha was even though Okocha could not respond to questions put across him as he was still in pains.



Etiam at libero iaculis, mollis justo non, blandit augue. Vestibulum sit amet sodales est, a lacinia ex. Suspendisse vel enim sagittis, volutpat sem eget, condimentum sem.